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BARNSTORMER, RETURN OF BARBEQUE & BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL, NEW CHRISTMAS SHOW HIGHLIGHT DOLLYWOOD’S 2011 SEASON

Season opens March 26 with Festival of Nations international celebration.

PIGEON FORGE, TENN.—Dollywood, the world’s reigning Applause Award-winning theme park, adds the Barnstormer, revives the popular Barbeque & Bluegrass fall festival and debuts a Christmas ice skating show for guests visiting the Smoky Mountains in 2011.

The Applause Award, the most prestigious award within the amusement and theme park industry, honors a park whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development. The award is presented every other year by Liseberg amusement park located in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Barnstormer, Dollywood’s newest family thrill ride, takes flight for the 2011 season. Situated on a ridge alongside Craftsman’s Valley adjacent to the Mountain Slidewinder, the Barnstormer “landed” on Owens Farm. Passengers are seated back-to-back on two giant pendulum arms that reach 81 feet in the air. The journey to the treetops reaches a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour and 230 degrees of rotation. Situated amid a big, red barn, the Barnstormer’s barnyard theme includes activity-filled children’s play areas. Lil’ Pilots Playground features a 22-foot by 16-foot wooden bi-plane while Granny’s Garden & Pig Pen offers play structures and water fountains. To add authenticity to the Owens Farm area and the Barnstormer attraction, Dollywood partnered in the project with Tennessee Farmers Cooperative.

“When we were kids, we were absolutely amazed when we saw an airplane do stunts in the sky,” Parton said. “Their tricks would entertain us for hours on end, and I just know that my new Barnstormer ride is going to be every bit as exciting to folks today. I can’t wait to see the looks on folks’ faces as they dip and soar!”

Home to five of the South’s largest festivals, Dollywood’s revives its popular Barbeque & Bluegrass festival Aug. 19-Sept. 5. Free concerts by the biggest names in bluegrass music get under way with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder Aug. 19 and 20 with two shows each day. Other performers include Sierra Hull & Highway 111 (Aug. 21 & 22), The Grascals (Aug. 24), Riders in the Sky (Aug. 26 & 27), Rhonda Vincent & The Rage (Aug. 28 & 29), The Gibson Brothers (Sept. 2 & 3), Marty Raybon (Sept. 4 & 5) and many more.

“My love for bluegrass music runs real deep, and after hearing from lots of folks, I know the same is true for them,” Parton said. “And that’s why I’m so very proud to bring my Barbeque and Bluegrass festival back this year. We’ve got fine pickers and mighty fine barbecue to spice things up, too!”

For the holidays, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival presented by Humana, a three- time winner of America’s best Christmas event, welcomes Christmas on Ice. The spectacular indoor ice skating production, with spins and spirals choreographed to the sounds of the season, features the Ice Theater of New York. The show joins the park’s award-winning lineup of Christmastime shows, including the perennial favorite Christmas in the Smokies.

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Other festival highlights include The Gazillion Bubble Show, Cloudy with a Chance of Meat BallsTM 4D Experience and two new children’s shows performed by the Penguin Players—Otis and Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad—all during KidsFest (June 17-Aug. 7). National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration presented by Humana begins with the return of Southern Gospel Music Association’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and the Singing News Fan Awards on Sept. 28. Dollywood Nights, a week of extended park hours, is slated for Aug. 8-14.

Dollywood is a 150-acre family adventure park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Open nine months a year (March 26-Dec. 30), Dollywood offers more than 40 rides and attractions; award-winning live entertainment featuring country, bluegrass, gospel and mountain music; and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

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Media: Contact Dollywood Public Relations Manager Pete Owens at 865-428-9486, 865-755-7972 or by email at powens@dollywood.com for B-roll, photography and more information. Check the Dollywood Press Room at http://www.dollywood.com/dollywood-q10214-c1-Press_Room.aspx for updates and new images.